Friday, October 8, 2010

there's an app for that...

last week i got a call from my mom asking me if i had called my dad that day. i said no, cause i hadn't, and i asked her why. she said it was my dad's birthday and that my sister was a terrible person for not telling me since she had already called that morning and Sungu had already sung happy birthday to his grandfather. advantage: Malloy. i was very surprised to hear all of this because my mom had told me a couple weeks earlier that my dad's birthday was in november this year. so i was very unprepared for the bomb she dropped on me.

now, i know what you are thinking- what kind of terrible daughter doesn't know it's her own father's birthday? and what kind of terrible sister doesn't call around to make sure all of her siblings who live in arizona know that it's their dad's birthday? i know. my excuse is that my parents celebrate their birthdays on the lunar calendar. i don't know what my sister's excuse is...

anyhoo, i never know when my parents' birthdays are. it is the responsibility of the spouse to inform the children a few weeks in advance that the other spouse's birthday is coming up. this is just how my family has been rolling since the beginning of time. and my excuse for not being responsible myself is that i do not understand what the heck the lunar calendar is all about.

so after 29+ years, i've decided to look it up. this is what i've found:

"Most lunar calendars are, in fact, lunisolar; such as the Chinese, Hebrew, and Hindu calendars, and most calendar systems used in antiquity.
All these calendars have a variable number of months in a year. The reason for this is that a year is not evenly divisible by an exact number of lunations, so without the addition of intercalary months the seasons would drift each year. This results in a thirteen-month year every two or three years.
Lunar calendars differ as to which day is the first day of the month. For some lunar calendars, such as the Chinese calendar, the first day of a month is the day when an astronomical new moon appears in a particular time zone. For others, such as some Hindu calendars, each month begins at full moon. Others were based in the past on the first sighting of a lunar crescent such as the Hebrew calendar.
The length of a month orbit/cycle is difficult to predict and varies from its average value. Because observations are subject to uncertainty and weather conditions, and astronomical methods are highly complex, there have been attempts to create fixed arithmetical rules.
The average length of the synodic month is 29.530589 days. This requires the length of a month to be alternately 29 and 30 days (termed respectively hollow and full)."


and more interesting facts:

"There are many different reasons to have a lunar calendar. There are many people who perform rituals that require the moon to be in certain stages to be effective if at all possible. Many women like to believe that their menstrual cycles have something to do with how the moon interacts with gravity and everything around them to rely on conceiving their children. Although these and many other moon specific events do occur and many people use lunar calendars for specific reasons such as these there are plenty of different advantages of having a lunar calendar."

also interesting...

but since my parents are non-ritualistic, and my mom has been menopausing for the last decade, the question that begs to be asked is- why bother with this lunar calendar business?!?!?

and the answer is- i don't know. and did i actually learn anything from the two articles i straight-up plagiarized from and didn't cite? no.

when i lived in korea, it was a bit easier keeping up with this lunar calendar lunacy because many calendars had the 'Solar/Gregorian/Christian/Western dates' on them, with the 'Lunar date' written on there as well, in smaller script.

so the best way i can explain birthday celebrating on the lunar calendar is that my mom was born in the third month on the 14th day on the lunar calendar. on the western calendar, that is March 14th, which i believe is what it says on her canadian drivers license. i don't know exactly what it says on her birth certificate, i don't know if paper was even invented that long ago... (haha. just joking. had to make a joke about my mom's age cause the opportunity presented itself, and cause my mom has been celebrating her '29th' birthday for the last 35 years...) anyhoo, so depending on when the beginning of the lunar new year is, will determine when the 14th day of the third month decides to appear in conjunction with the 'westernized' calendar.

this all sounds so complicated, which is why i don't keep up with the lunar calendar at all. i just thought about designing an 'app' for it, but wouldn't you know there already is one. (i just checked. i thought i was on the cusp of being a millionaire!!!) i actually have not spent a single cent on an 'app' yet, even though i've had my itouch for about a month now. i guess spending $1.99 is a small cost for actually being able to know when my parents' birthdays are. ah, if only the price to pay for being a good daughter was only $1.99...

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